Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 NBA Predictions

Hey everybody, Dirkness is back!!!

Hot diggity damn, and right in time for Festivus. And the NBA. And fingernails. Ho up, ho up, lets take it back a step to the Ene-Be-A. For the first time in my 26 years of existence, I'm gonna throw some NBA Predictions down, young man. But first, here's what I'm excited for this season...

Dirk's quest for a repeat. The Mavs complete roster overhaul (the same team would have lacked hunger this season). Bill Reiter's NBA columns on Fox Sports. Playing in a Fantasy NBA league for the first time. The Knicks' resurgence. Dwyane Wade's impending season ending injury. A feud between Charles Barkley and Papi from Dan LeBatard's new show (must watch TV people!). Baron Davis back on a contender. The Young Gunz they refer to as the Minnesota Timberwolves. The point in the season when different people wonder aloud why everybody prematurely handed the Western Conference to the OKC Thunder (probably not till playoffs). Kevin Durant's attempt to imitate Dirk's cackle-legged fadeaway. Being forced to support Vince Carter for the first time in my life. The great Clippers nickname debate between Sports Guy (Lob City) and Jason Whitlock (Lob Angeles). Lakers fans continuing to bitch about not getting Kobe Bryant (oblivious to the fact that nobody has sympathy). Steve Nash getting traded to a contender in the middle of the season (I predict Orlando in a last gasp effort to keep Howard). Nick Wright getting cocky, and downright smug, about the Heat's chances come playoff time (followed by the inevitable, 2nd annual, "What's Wrong with Nick Wright"). The Grizzlies realizing that Rudy Gay is part of the problem, not part of the solution. The first "Morris Brother X misses Morris Brother Y" story. The eternal hope that the NBA realizes the benefit of playing a shortened season that they were forced into by this dirty lockout (may I suggest a 51 game season?). And finally, the beauty of the NBA debuting on Christmas Day (smoother transition from NFL to NBA).

2011 NBA Predictions
(Remember: Only 66 games this season. Normal = 82)

Eastern Conference Edition

Atlantic Augury:
1. New Yahk Knicks 40-26 (5th seed)
2. Philadelphia 76ers 36-30 (7th seed)
3. Boston Celtics 34-32 (8th seed)
4. New Jersey Nets 30-36
5. Toronto Raptors 11-55

Central Crystal Gazing:
1. Chicago Bulls 46-20 (2nd seed)
2. Indiana Pacers 41-25 (4th seed)
3. Milwaukee Bucks 30-36
4. Detroit Pistons 27-39
5. Cleveland Cavaliers 15-51

Southeast Surmising:
1. Miami Heat 51-15 (1st seed)
2. Orlando Magic 43-23 (3rd seed)
3. Atlanta Hawks 37-29 (6th seed)
4. Washington Wizards 29-37
5. Charlotte Bobcats 21-45

Western Conference Walla Walla Bing Bang

Northwest Nabbing:
1. Oklahoma City Thunder 48-18 (1st seed)
2. Portland Trailblazers 40-26 (4th seed)
3. Denver Nuggets 32-34
4. Minnesota Timberwolves 31-35
5. Utah Jazz 24-42

Pacific Prognosticating:
1. Los Angeles Clippers 44-22 (2nd seed)
2. Los Angeles Lakers 38-28 (5th seed)
3. Phoenix Suns 28-38
4. Sacramento Kings 21-45
5. Golden State Warriors 16-50

Southwest Suspicions:
1. Dallas Mavericks 43-23 (3rd seed)
2. New Orleans Hornets 35-31 (6th seed)
3. San Antonio Spurs 35-31 (7th seed)
4. Memphis Grizzlies 33-33 (8th seed)
5. Houston Rockets 30-36

NBA Playoffs

First Round:
East - Heat over Celtics, Bulls over 76ers, Hawks over Magic, Knicks over Pacers
West - Thunder over Grizzlies, Clippers over Spurs, Mavs over Hornets, Lakers over Blazers

Conference Semifinals:
East - Heat over Knicks, Bulls over Hawks
West - Lakers over Thunder, Clippers over Mavs

Conference Finals:
East - Bulls over Heat
West - Lakers over Clippers

NBA Finals

Chicago Bulls over Los Angeles Lakers in 5

His Dirkness

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NFL Power Rankings ~ Week 8

Previous Rankings

Week 8 Powah Rankin's

The Juggernaut
1. Green Bay Packers - Hard to argue right now. Still waiting to see that adversity though. I'll be impressed if and when it comes and goes.

The Buffalo Bills 4-peaters
2. Pittsburgh Steelers - That's what happens when you give a good team playing at home no chance all week long.
3. Buffalo Bills - Extremely impressed by their resume. Even their loss to the Bengals doesn't seem so bad now.
4. New Orleans Saints - I kneaux, I kneaux. It doesn't make sense, but I refuse to believe this team is as bad as they sheauxed.
5. New York Giants - Can't believe nobody's talking about the team playing in the nation's biggest city in the NFL's premier division.
6. Baltimore Ravens - They're gonna be 'that' team. Could see them stomping Pittsburgh for a second time, and then losing to Cleveland to miss the playoffs.

The Hova - Rateds
7. New England Patriots - Can you imagine the number of Super Bowls they'd have if Bill Belichick still believed in defense?
8. San Francisco 49ers - Seven games doesn't erase seven years of memories of Alex Smith.
9. Detroit Lions - Annoying frontrunners. So full of themselves that they'll fold if they're not clicking on all cylinders. I see a lack of grit. Want things handed to them.

My Sleeper
10. Houston Texans - Have a chance to rack up wins in a cake division in a conference without an elite team. Sounds dangerous to me. Stayed afloat with Andre Johnson out.

The Derek Fucking Foreals?
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Haven't played up to par but there's something about this team. I think Josh Freeman wins a Super Bowl in his career.
12. Kansas City Chiefs - Actually have a worse point differential (-42) on the season than the 1-6 Arizona Cardinals (-40).
13. Cincinnati Bengals - Placed a $12.50 bet on them to win the AFC North. Pays out $1,000 for the win. No, I'm not shitting you. You can literally go on and make the same bet right now (this is legal right?).

The Old n' Borings
14. New York Jets - CAN'T WAIT till somebody shuts Rex Ryan up for good.
15. Atlanta Falcons - There's nobody I root harder against for no apparent reason than Matt Ryan.
16. San Diego Chargers - No team receives more unjust due than the Chargers. Everybody just face it - they aren't good.

The NFC Queefs
17. Dallas Cowboys - Can't figure out how they're not good. They should be good right? Yea, they will be good. Lets go ahead and put them in the playoffs.
18. Philadelphia Eagles - Remind me of the 2004 Kansas City Chiefs. Horrible start, capable of blowing teams out, but never really had "it."
19. Washington Redskins - Won't forgive them for benching my boy, G-Rex.

The Please Don't Make Me Watch Em's
20. Chicago Bears - They're doing the smart thing by not paying Matt Forte. Because...
21. Tennessee Titans - You might never see an NFL team pay a running back again after this Chris Johnson (CJ2.8) display.

The Must See TV Team of Whom I Haven't Even Seen Yet
22. Carolina Panthers - CAAAAMMMMMM!!! Still hasn't received the necessary credit for single-handedly dominating College Football last year. Thank you pointless NCAA allegations!

Good and Evil
23. Oakland Raiders - Carson Palmer is going to flop HARD. Remember when he sucked for the last five years? Yea, me too.
24. Denver Broncos - Who'll be the first person to personalize a Tebow '666' jersey? Hey now. You stay classy, Dirkness.

The Mighty Fiesties
25. Jacksonville Jaguars - Good defense. How bout that?
26. Minnesota Vikings - Christian Ponder eh? Whatever...
27. Miami Dolphins - I literally believe there are five worse teams than the 0-7 Dolphins.

Six to Threes
28. Cleveland Browns - No team's record will be more inflated with unimpressive wins than Nick Wright's Cleveland Browns.

49er Fodder
29. Seattle Seahawks - Where 67,000 > 53.
30. St. Louis Rams - What would you give up for Sam Bradford? A first rounder? Could be the funnest NFL discussion of the offseason.
31. Arizona Cardinals - Hey Larry Fitz, are you enjoy the Kevin Kolb era?

The Cheaters
32. Indianapolis Colts - I'll hate them as much as I can hate a team if they get Andrew Luck. I wonder if they're still pumping in fake crowd noise when they're trying to lose?

His Dirkness

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chiefs/Raiders Rivalry Video Breakdown

First, the Oakland Raiders pull off a rarely seen midseason blockbuster trade for QB Carson Palmer, then the news that he is projected to start this Sunday against the Chiefs, and I think we have ourselves the top billing game of the NFL weekend.

There's also the celebratory fact that the Kansas City Chiefs are playing a meaningful game in 2011. A win on Sunday and the Halloween Monday Nighter against the San Diego Chargers becomes the hottest ticket in town (I'm gonna go as 13-year old Andy Reid).

To get in the spirit of Raider Week, I began watching videos on YouTube and came across this beauty entitled "Chiefs vs. Raiders: The History of the Rivalry" which seems to have aired last year on NFL Network (not sure how I missed this). I've decided to give this video the Sports Guy style breakdown that it truly deserves.

Here's the vid...

0:00 - The song for this video is super awesome. Does anything beat the music for NFL Films videos? Similar to any video being funny to the Benny Hill Theme Song, I think you could put any football video to this music and it becomes unequivocally riveting. I think I'll make this song my alarm for Sunday morning afternoon.

0:13 - Of all the hits in this video that would be declared illegal in today's NFL, this completely unnecessary flying clothesline off the top turnbuckle may have been the most illegal.

0:23 - This is the result of adults played the children's game Red Rover.

0:36 - "The Kansas City Chiefs: They were a team that projected the image that Hank Stram wanted to project - A dapper outfit." This is a pretty cool reputation.

0:42 - John Madden smoking a cigarette on the sideline of an NFL game. Has anybody else dominated three aspects of the sporting world as well as Jaaaaahn? His winning percentage as a head coach ranks 2nd all time. He popularized such words as "Boom!", "Whap!", "Bang!" and "Doink!" as an announcer (thanks Wiki). And yet everybody born after 1990 will remember him as The Godfather of sports video games. WAIT A that a hooter he's smoking? I'm becoming a bigger Madden fan by the minute.

0:50 - 0:57 - This series of hits on former Chiefs QB Lenny Dawson is in dire need of a few Wilhelm screams.

1:00 - Is that an interview with an active Kenny Stabler? He's a damn drunken bumpkin. I imagine him wearing Hillbilly Jim overalls during that interview with a pint of Old Crow in the breast pocket.

1:08 - And clearly Stabler is racist...

1:10 - What's with all the clothesline hits? Did those get outlawed at some point and time or just go out of style?

1:20 - Calm down...PHIL

1:28 - I distinctly remember my dad owning that same hat that sits upon Marty Schottenheimer's head. I guess the NFL didn't charge $40 for anything players or coaches wore back then because my dad wouldn't have paid that.

1:47 - "And the Raiders would make up their own rules" as we see Al Davis sporting an all white jumpsuit.

1:55 - What's the context of "the bastards got 3 points"? Was Marty encouraging the defense because they held them to a field goal? Was he pissed that his defense allowed them to even score 3 points? Or was he referring to his own offense as the bastards and thought that 3 points was enough for his defense?

2:02 - 2:24 - My love for obscure 90's Chiefs players is in sensory overload. Bill Maas, Dave Kreig, JJ Birden, Todd McNair, Leslie O'Neal, Chester McGlockton, Bam Morris (I demand to know where Donnell Bennett and Dino Hackett are). I almost cried right along with Marty.

2:17 - The Oakland QB right there is Donald Hollas. I thought I knew of every starting NFL QB of that era, especially within the division, but I have never heard of this dude. He went to Rice. And he led the Raiders to four straight wins in 1998! However, he threw 6 INT's in his final start. Three months later, the Raiders signed Rich Gannon.

2:29 - Greg Hill sighting!!!

2:51 - Documented proof that Thomas Jones can gain more than 5 yards in a single run.

2:57 - Darren McFadden leads the best rushing attack in the NFL against Kansas City this week. The Chiefs run defense has been secretly awesome this season (especially in the past three games). Shut down Oakland this week and they are officially for real. I feel you need to be dominant in one aspect of the game to be a real contender and the Chiefs lost that when Jamaal Charles went down. In other words, you'll learn everything you need to know about this team on Sunday. But first, one last brawl...

3:03 - Who knew Lenny D was so wily on the move like that? He's got wheels.

3:14 - Definitive punch to the groin.

3:18 - Look at Raider #84. I can't make out his name but I'm sure it rhymes with a part of the female anatomy. Perhaps he needs to have a sit down with overstimulated Phil from the 1:20 mark.

3:24 - Clearly the Chiefs won that fight.

Go Chiefs,
His Dirkness

Friday, October 14, 2011

Picking 25 College Football Games (ATS)

By my count, I need to go 14-11 to finish in the black.

1. North Carolina (+3) over Miami, Fla - Jacory Harris seems overdue for a four interception game. - LOSS

2. Penn St. (-12) over Purdue - Tough to score on the Nittanies, and I think they'll score over 13. - LOSS

3. Indiana (+39.5) over Wisconsin - I believe!!!! - LOSS

4. Florida St. (-12) over Duke - Blue Devils not bad this year, Seminoles not good. Easy money right? Right... - WIN

5. Clemson (-7.5) over Maryland - Tigers aren't just winning games this year, they're blowing teams out. - WIN

6. Virginia Tech (-6) over Wake Forest - Demon Deacons (best nickname in College) been slipping by, it won't last. - WIN

7. South Carolina (-3) over Mississippi St. - Bulldogs haven't recovered from losing to Auburn in their opener. - LOSS

8. Iowa St. (-16) over Missouri - By a Gary Pinkel 2 point conversion chart. - LOSS

9. Utah (+6.5) over Pittsburgh - Panthas lost by 24 to Rutgers last week. 'Nuff said. - WIN

*10. Baylor (+8) over Texas A&M - These two teams are even, no? - LOSS

11. Tennessee (+17) over LSU - Tigers will regret their impending QB controversy. - LOSS

12. Michigan St. (-3) over Michigan - My most eagerly anticipated game of Saturday. - WIN

*13. Illinois (-3) over Ohio St. - The Buckeyes are bad. Real bad. Trust me. - LOSS

14. Louisville (+15) over Cincinnati - Cardinals defense actually pretty good. Charlie Strong. - WIN

15. Alabama (-27.5) over Ole Miss - Ol' Dirty won't score, which means Bamarama has to reach 28 to cover. - WIN

16. Auburn (+2.5) over Florida - Gators' QB probably won't play. - WIN

*17. Oklahoma (-35.5) over Kansas - The worst defense in BCS conference history?

18. Boise St. (-32.5) over Colorado St. - Broncos always seem to cover in these kinds of games. - WIN

19. Stanford (-21) over Washington St. - I am now anti-Andrew Luck. Fuck a Luck. - WIN

20. Vanderbilt (+11) over Georgia - The Commodores put up a fight against 'Bama last week. - LOSS

21. Oklahoma St. (-7) over Texas - The Longhorns were exposed last week. Cowboys are comparable to Sooners. - WIN

22. Kansas St. (+3.5) over Texas Tech - They keep making the Wildcats underdogs and they keep winning. - WIN

23. Northwestern (+6) over Iowa - Wanted to go against the Wildcats for screwing me last week (up 10, couldn't finish within 10), but this line seems off. - LOSS

24. Arizona St. (+14) over Oregon - Sun Devils underrated, LaMichael James done broke his arm.

25. Washington (-16) over Colorado - Huskies should be ranked, Buffaloes are turrible. - WIN

* = Dirkensheed

His Dirkness

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nebraska/Ohio St - This One's On Bo

Last week's 48-17 defeat at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers was the worst loss in Bo Pelini's career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

It wasn't just the defense's inability to stop the Badgers offense. It was that the team basically quit after T-Mart's interception to begin the second half. After limiting the Badgers running game to mild success in the first half (Wisconsin's plays were all coming off Russell Wilson's improvisational skills), the Blackshirts laid down in the second half. They rolled over. They quit.

The key to the defense's success under Bo Pelini has been the defensive line. Well, last Saturday night, the defensive line was useless. They generated no pressure on plays that they didn't blitz. They offered little resistance in the running game. Cameron Meredith's name hasn't been heard since Week 1. I'm told Jason Ankrah starts opposite him - news to me. Jared Crick either can't get the job done by himself, or is failing to live up to his Ndoversized expectations. And don't get me started on Sean Fisher, who might be the worst starter in the entire Big Ten conference. (Yes, I realize he is not on the defensive line, but I just couldn't wait any longer.)

I realize there is a good chance that the Wisconsin Badgers are simply the best team in all of College Football (I'd put them right there with Alabama), which would make everything that occurred semi-tolerable. However, that's dependent on seeing some improvement out of the defense, and the team as a whole. Which means...

It's time for Bo Pelini to do some coaching.

There certainly can't be any excuses flying around after this week. THEE Ohio State's offense is anemic. They scored 7 points on Michigan State last week, and they were to lucky to even get that (33 yard TD with 10 seconds left in the game). They scored 6 points on the Miami Hurricanes two weeks Pryor (see what I did there?). They scored 37 points on Colorado in between, which is counterproductive to my argument, but I'm limited in ways to make fun of the Buffaloes these days. You suck Colorado.

If Ohio St. is able to move the ball on the Blackshirts, it might be time to start asking some serious questions about Bo Pelini...

  • Why was Alfonzo Dennard not on Wisconsin WR Al Toon the entire game? They had one good receiver. Nebraska has one good cornerback. And yet, Toon was repeatedly beating Ciante Evans in coverage (whodathunkit?).
  • How has the defense suffered so much? The Blackshirts lost Prince Amukamara, Dejon Gomes, Eric Hagg, and Pierre Allen from last year. Is that enough lost talent to warrant the slip in play we've seen? Where is the (Bo Pelini recruited) talent behind them?
  • How are the linebackers so bad? Lavonte David has been good, but not great. Will Compton makes a play here and there. Sean Fisher was so bad last week that my buddy John's head nearly exploded trying to explain how bad he was. Is this the best they've got?
  • How can they keep Taylor Martinez's pants dry? T-Mart has not handled the big situations he's been thrown into very well. He seems fine until one thing goes wrong, and then all bets are off. This isn't Bo's wheelhouse, but if these problems persist, Bo might have to address the QB position. Or just run the ball...
  • Why does Nebraska never seem to run the ball enough? The Huskers ran the ball down Wisconsin's throat their first two drives of the game and then became obsessed with throwing the ball. In a big game, on the road, stick with whatever's working please.

I'm still a Bo Pelini guy. He has this program headed in the right direction. All he needs now is to lead his team to victory in a big time game. He might get his chance in a rematch with Wisconsin this year. (Remember the upset in the inaugural Big 12 Championship.)

As far as this week's game goes, I see a big bounce back from the Cornhuskers. This smells like a game where Nebraska races out to an early lead and spends most of the game holding Ohio St at an arm's length. I'll say a decisive 24-10 triumph for Nebraska.

His Dirkness

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Preview

The current national perception of the Nebraska Cornhuskers is that they can't win the big game. There's little doubt that Bo Pelini's resume is lacking that signature win (partly because Missouri always falls apart after Nebraska beats them). Tonight is a great opportunity for Bo and the 'Skers to make a statement to the rest of the Big Ten. "We may be new, but make no mistake, this is OUR conference."

That being said, I feel good about this game. It feels like the pressure is off of Nebraska (Wisconsin now a 10 point favorite). Almost nobody (and their mother) has the Huskers winning tonight (although Lee Corso just did). Pelini may have learned his lesson from putting too much pressure on his own team against Texas last season, so he has been downplaying everything about this historic game for the Huskers (read about it here). Good move, Bo.

My biggest fear about the game is the Wisconsin running game. The Blackshirts' run defense has been rather un-stout (more like a Belgian White) so far this year. The Badgers will attack you with run, run, run, and then hit you with a playaction over the top. I trust the discipline of the Husker defense, I'm just skeptical of their ability to stop the run. However, the Blackshirts haven't been at full health yet this year. Tonight should be the first game that both CB Alfonzo Dennard and DT Jared Crick will both be on the field (Fonz missed first three, Crick last week). It could make a huge difference to have all three leaders of the defense (combined with LB Lavonte David) on the field at once.

How bout some stats...

~~Stats you need to know~~

  • Taylor Martinez is 12-4 as a starter. He has averaged 113 rushing yards per game in his 12 career victories. In his 4 losses, he's averaged 7.25 yards per game.
  • T-Mart's 2011 numbers running the option: 19 attempts, 175 yards, 3 touchdowns.
  • Nebraska's 2nd half rushing totals the last two weeks: 217 (vs. Washington), 220 (vs. Wyoming).
  • Wisconsin is 1 of 3 teams in the nation to average 240 yards both passing and rushing (Baylor, Missouri).
  • Since the start of 2010, Russell Wilson leads all quarterbacks with 16 first down runs on 3rd and 5+.

Key Matchup: Wisconsin WR Nick Toon vs. Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard - A favorable matchup (if the Fonz is 100% - he looked good last week) for the Huskers, as they can match strength vs. strength on the Badgers' biggest weapon. I expect Dennard to follow Toon (son of Tecmo Bowl star Al Toon!) all over the field. This is a matchup you could see on future Sundays.

X-Factor: The Nebraska specialty teams - The Huskers might need a big play out of the kicking game tonight. They definitely have the tools. Returner Ameer Abdullah is explosive (averaging 42.5 yards per kick return). K Brett Maher is 8 of 9 on the year, and his only miss was from 50+ and it even looked good to me (but you couldn't tell because of those damn short goalposts in Wyoming).

Keep Your Eye On: Nebraska WR Jamal Turner - Recruited to play QB, this dynamic freshman is like butter when he gets the ball in the open field. He will be one of the most exciting players in College Football over the next four years of his career.

Everybody is on Wisconsin because they've dominated all of their games up to this point, but might that actually be a condemnation? First off, the Badgers' best opponent (Northern Illinois) was beaten by Kansas. Second off, they haven't played a meaningful snap in the second half. Meanwhile, Nebraska has broken open two close games after the intermission, and then dealt with an undefeated Wyoming team last week. This is why...

If the game is close, I'm taking Nebraska.


I don't think the game will be close enough. I'm afraid the Blackshirts have been faulty up to this point, but not bad enough to make any defiant changes. It's best to know your weaknesses and I'm not sure if Nebraska views anything as a problem yet. It all comes down to whether the Huskers can stop the Badgers ground game tonight. If they can, I expect a close game and a Nebraska victory. But if they can't...

Prediction: Wisconsin over Nebraska 30-17*

*However, if the Huskers come out in the much-rumored black uniforms ("oops" photo preview can be seen here in the top left corner), to match the expected 30,000 Nebraska fans in Madison tonight, I'll take the Huskers in a landslide.

Go Big Red,
his Dirkness

Friday, September 30, 2011

Baseball Playoff Predictions

Ay. I feel like making predictions for a sport I don't know a whole hell of a lot about. I always feel when I'm making my NCAA Tournament picks that some guy who knows nothing about College Basketball stands a better chance than me. This is my chance to be that guy.

Plus I'm motivated by what was the best 10 minutes of baseball I've watched since the 2004 ALCS (that was between the Yanks and the Sox). Here's what happened to my interest though: The Red Sox won the World Series, and immediately became as unlikeable as the Yankees. This left me with nobody to root for in this rivalry. And since half of ESPN's coverage is devoted to this overrated conflict (yea I said it), I have little choice but to ignore the sport that I've little interest in (probably because I never played it and the Royals have always sucked).

This is what will happen.

Tampa Bay over Texas in 6 4

The Devil Rays are hot. The Rangers did good last year I think. Seems obvious. Especially after seeing everybody on take the Rangers. Idiots.

Detroit over NY Yankees in 7 5

This Turdlander dude from the Tigers seems like the real deal. He wins Game 7 5 in New Yahk. The Yankees aren't even fun to hate anymore, they're just boring.

Milwaukee over Arizona in 5 4

Brewers seem rough. Prince Fielder (The Vegetarian Bomber) has a swagger to him. Ryan Braun wore a leather jacket on an episode of PTI, and passes the Sportscenter test (good highlights, game winning plays). I'm gonna go ahead and root for the Brew Crew in these playoffs. 

Philadelphia over St. Louis in 5 3

This is gonna piss my buddy Brockoli Jones off to no end, but the Phillies are getting to the World Series at the very least. Their pitchers are way better than everybody else's. 

*so apparently baseball begins the playoffs with 5 game serieseses

His dirkliness

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Show in Town ~ Sporting KC

Whether you're on the Suck for Luck bandwagon or you ain't, one thing is clear for all Chiefs fans: The passion for this season is (*Denny Matthews voice*) GONE!

I just didn't know it had all transferred over to a different team in town. Who you ask?

Sporting Kansas City.

Last night I ventured over to Livestrong Park to take in my first Sporting game of the season. Simply put, it was the best sporting event I've attended in 2011 (take that Chiefs home opener!). I had previously attended a Wizards game at Arrowhead Stadium and was underwhelmed by everything but the opportunity to yell at Freddy Adu all game long. The difference was night and day.

Fast forward to today, and I'm still exhausted from jumping around like a fool and chanting along all game long. I was lucky enough to sit stand in "The Cauldron" where all the crazies sit stand (only 15 bucks). The coolest part about the game was (what appeared to be) elected fan leaders that faced the crowd and led them all in the team's chants (probably around 15) all game long. They made sure the crowd stayed rowdy through the entire 90 minutes, and they succeeded.

The next coolest part was cheaper beer for all the fans sitting in The Cauldron. While the peons paid 8.50 for piss in a cup, us fancy folk were paying 6 bucks for a big ass Drop Kick Ale (mmm delicious). Cheap beer also leads to great fan participation (are you noticing the pattern yet?).

I've always wanted to attend a European soccer game, or even on a grander scale, a World Cup game (on my sports Bucket List). I've always been infatuated by the atmosphere of those games, with what I call the most passionate fan bases in the world. Well, I gots me a taste of it last night. And it was good.

And Sporting KC is good. They clinched a spot in the playoffs last night, and currently sit in first place in the eastern conference after whooping up on the team that was in first place last week. A home playoff game is looking more and more likely, and would be an event that I wouldn't want to miss out on.

So while I remain a Chiefs fan first and foremost, my competitive fan juices might be saved up for Major League Soccer this year. And if you haven't made your way out to a game yet, I'd strongly advise you to do so sooner rather than later. Who knows if this city's passion for Sporting KC will run as strong when the Chiefs are trotting out Andrew Luck in 2012.

His Dirkness

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Should the Chiefs Consider Jimmy Clausen?

We've slowly but surely come to the realization that Matt Cassel isn't the right quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. While his heart is in the right place, God's plan for him is not. He's killing us all softly, one dump off to SafeDex at a time.

So I begin to look towards who could be the next quarterback for the Chiefs. There is no more important position in sports (although the goalie in hockey sparks an interesting debate), and there's no better time than right now for Kansas City, with a bevy of rising talent on the team (even if 1/3 of them are nursing torn ACL's). Find the right quarterback and the franchise could be set up for the next 10 years.

My biggest fear right now is that the Chiefs are bad, but not quite bad enough to earn themselves the #1 pick in the NFL Draft, and declare victory in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes (although these next two weeks will show just how serious of contenders we really are).

But before I swan dive into the NFL Draft pool, and convince myself that Landry Jones and his mustache could make even a decent NFL quarterback, I wanted to look around the rest of the NFL for an available, young quarterback. Which brought me to Jimmy Clausen. The former Golden Domer was drafted in the 2nd round in 2010, but will never sniff the field in Carolina now because of The People's Champion, Cam Newton.

So Jimmy Clausen is definitely available, but would he be worth giving a shot? Lets take a closer look...

Clausen's 2010 stats: 13 games, 10 starts, 1-9 record. 157-299 (52.5%), 1,558 yards (5.2 YPA), 3 TD, 9 INT, 9 fumbles. Click here for his game to game stats.

Obviously, those are some rather putrid numbers. However, it was the kid's rookie season and he was throwing the ball to David Gettis, Brandon LaFell, and Steve Smith (at 50% effort). John Fox was a lame duck coach, and there offensive coordinator was somebody named Jeff Davidson (who's past history was as an offensive line coach - sound familiar Chiefs fans?).

Clausen might not be the slam dunk that Luck is, but you can't expect to find a quarterback like that already in the league. You'd have to take a chance on a guy and coach him up. I'd feel stronger about either side of this argument if I had actually watched Clausen play at the professional level, but I have not (I spent my time last year actually focusing on my team - novel concept, eh?).

Jimmer will definitely get his shot in the league at some point. Quarterbacks with talent inevitably do. It would be real interesting to see what he could do with some playing time this year if Cam were to get nicked up at any point and time. Clausen could earn himself an immediate chance with a good game or two.

Conclusion: I'd definitely consider the option of acquiring Jimmy Clausen, and would be interested to see what the Panthers asking price was, however I don't think I would pull the trigger on a quarterback that hasn't shown much at the pro level, at a time when rookie quarterbacks are performing better than ever.

Although, this post was written more for the point of creating discussion on the topic, so I'd love to hear if any of you think Jimmy Clausen is worth giving a shot?

His Dirkness

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

NFL Power Rankings

Parody is such a beautiful thing. The NFL is the only professional league that seeks out parody in every way possible. The Draft, the schedule, the revenue sharing, and the future implementation of the salary floor (not until 2013 I think) are all designed to give the 32 teams an equal opportunity to compete. And it's the main reason why the NFL is so successful. Every fan can believe that it is their team's year before the season begins. Three weeks in there are only three undefeated teams in the NFL, and two of them were completely off the radar last season (Bills, Lions). That means that all of the teams considered elite going into the season have atleast one loss, except for the defending Super Bowl Champs. And that's where we begin with the Week 3 power rankings.

(Laugh at my Preseason NFL Power Rankings: here)

NFL Power Rankings ~ Week 3

Ye Faithfuls
1. Green Bay Packers - Nice start, but what I want to see is how they handle adversity this season.
2. New Orleans Saints - My predicted Super Bowl winner is in good shape. There is no better QB in the NFL at playing from behind than Drew Brees.
3. Baltimore Ravens - Emphatic blowout this week showed me that their loss to Tennessee was a fluke.
4. Dallas Cowboys - A blocked punt away from being 3-0. This is starting to feel like Tony Romo's year to me.
5. New England Patriots - Brady has already surpassed his interception total of last season. I'm not sure if Belichick still believes in playing defense.

New Kids on the Block
6. Fuckin' Spunky Buffalo Bills - Impressed by their defense keeping them in the game against NE. Super impressed by Chan Gailey kneeling on the ball to kick a field goal with no time left.
7. Oakland Raiders - Their defensive line is better than the Lions' defensive line. I'm ready to call Darren McFadden the second best running back in the NFL.
8. Detroit Lions - Still cannot run the ball, the team finished with 20 yards on 19 attempts last game.
9. New York Jets - Could be a dangerous 10-6 team going into the Playoffs. Familiar eh?
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I really want Josh Freeman to be called "Freebs." Or Fozzy Bearman.

The Letdowns
11. Houston Texans - Should be higher, but I feel like we're all waiting for their midseason collapse.
12. San Diego Chargers - I haven't seen the more determined team I expected to when I predicted them to make the Super Bowl.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers - Something doesn't feel right with this team. Reeks of a disappointing season.
14. Philadelphia Eagles - The comparisons to the Miami Heat are remarkable, right down to the poor start to the season and the whiny ass star of the team.
15. Atlanta Falcons - Should be 0-3 if Vick doesn't get hurt. This team was vastly overrated last season.

Middle of the Pack
16. New York Giants - Have 8-8 written all over them. I thought they might be pissed after seeing that DeSean Jackson punt return 87,000 times this offseason.
17. Washington Redskins - Ryan Kerrigan appears to be the real deal on what could be a rough defense.
18. Chicago Bears - Their punt return play was seriously awesome. Watch it here.
19. Tennessee Titans - Matt Hasselbeck has been my biggest surprise of the season. Chris Johnson is no longer a top 20 running back.

Showing some Spunk
20. Cleveland Browns - Could be the worst Playoff team ever if they win the games they should.
21. Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton never got enough credit for his dominating run at Auburn last year because of the number of pointless scandal stories.
22. Cincinnati Bengals - I have no idea how, but this team doesn't appear to be an easy victory. Could shock the Bills next week.

This Really is an NFL Division
23. St. Louis Rams - Have looked sooooo bad, and I still make them the favorites in the division at 0-3.
24. San Francisco 49ers - Please don't make me watch them this year.
25. Arizona Cardinals - Quarterbacks are never good after they leave Andy Reid's side.
26. Seattle Seahawks - Should be lower, but they fit the cut of this category's jib. Winning in Seattle still isn't easy.

Andrew Luck Sweepstakes
27. Denver Broncos - Crisis averted, I whiffed on my NFL surprise pick.
28. Minnesota Vikings - Made the top 5 for the first half of my preparations for this post. Then the second half happened.
29. Kansas City Chiefs - For better or worse, showed signs of returning to last year's form.
30. Indianapolis Colts - Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will only try that hard for their primetime games.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars - Might be the worst team, but they are less likely to tank games at the end of the season.
32. Miami Dolphins - The frontrunners. Cheer hard for them.

His Dirkness

Friday, September 16, 2011

Huskers Overrated (...For Now)

I have yet to write anything about my beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers' first couple games, and with my other team currently marred in seasonal depression disorder, this seems like the perfect time to do so.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers, currently ranked 10th in the poll that matters, are simply overrated.

For now.

Lets start out with the one big positive of the season for the Big Red - Taylor Martinez. He's fast again! And he's currently 3rd in the nation in rushing yards. The biggest question coming into this season was whether T-Mart's ineffectiveness over the second half of the 2010 season was actually due to his injured knee/ankle or because of the demons in his head. While you can't say that he's exercised 100% of those demons, it certainly seems like he's back to pre-injury form. The problem now, is that usually when your team's biggest question mark is answered favorably, they're due for a promising season. However, that's not the case with this Nebraska team. Here's why...

The Probs:
  • The playmakers are there on offense, but they are all young. WR Jamal Turner made the biggest play of the game last week with a 43 yard reception. Ameer Abdullah took a kick return to the house in what should be his first of many. Super recruits Aaron Green and Braylon Heard have yet to make a big impact, but have serious potential. The good news? All are freshmen. The bad news? It's hard to say if they'll be able to provide enough for the team this season, and the team may not have enough game changers without them.
  • The interior offensive line couldn't open holes against Fresno State, to the point where running between the tackles became pointless. That's not a good sign, and is an even worse sign when it comes against a team from the WAC.
  • The defensive line has been largely disappointing. Jared Crick has looked alright, but certainly hasn't lived up to the hype of a potential Nagurski Award winner. After appearing to be almost unblockable in the first week, Cameron Meredith's name was hardly called against the Bulldogs. The most worrisome part of the line is their inability to stop the run right now, with even Tennessee Chattanooga ripping off chunks of yardage a couple of times. This must be fixed.
  • Bradon Kinnie. Oy.
  • The defensive backs look mostly lost out there with Alfonzo Dennard out to injury (although I'm a fan of CB Ciante Evans and S Damion Stafford - he did this). Word on the street is that he'll most likely miss the Washington game this week, but should return soon after. I think they'll be fine without him against the Huskies, but the Blackshirts will need him come Wisconsin.
These are the problems that lead me to believe that the Nebraska Cornhuskers are currently overrated. However, I've been teasing you with this "for now" throughout the entire article. And here's why: Bo Pelini. His defenses have consistently made huge leaps WITHIN in the season throughout his tenure at Nebraska. It's actually quite similar to how he approaches each individual game on the defensive side. He feels the other team out the first couple drives (feels his own team out the first couple games), makes the necessary adjustments, and then Ndominates (it's science).

Now while I expect the defense to improve over the course of the season, I think the offense will remain too one-dimensional with an overdependence on T-Mart running the ball. I'm not sold on offensive coordinator Tim Beck enough to feel confident going up against a good defense this season. Thus, I will stick with my previously unannounced prediction of a 10-2 regular season for this team, with a loss in the Big Ten Championship to the Wisconsin Badgers (we don't need no stinking badgers!). Oh, and the Huskers take out some frustrations on the Huskies this week. Big time.

Nebraska 38, Washington 13

Other games you should care about:

Florida St over Oklahoma - I think the smart bet is on the Sooners, but I gots a feeling! I've also got a theory, the Sooners don't have experience in huge road games because they always play their biggest opponent, Texas, at a neutral site. This leads to their annual disappointing loss on the road. I got Steele Jantz in my pants thinking about this one.

West Virginia over Maryland - Two underrated quarterbacks makes this the Steele Jantz Game of the Week. (Yea I went there twice, did you see that kid last week???)

Ohio St. over Miami - Big. Bounce back effort.

Georgia Tech over Kansas - Closer than the experts think. Turner Gill baby.

Upset Special: Illinois over Arizona St. - Beware of the team going on the road, coming off a huge win at home.

Upset Spectacular - Northern Illinois over Wisconsin - Not picking it, but don't say I didn't warn you.

His Dirkliness

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chiefs/Bills Rewatch Thoughts

Enough time had passed, and with a little help from my green friends, I was able to stomach a rewatch of the Kansas City Chiefs opening day massacre. I had a multitude of thoughts from watching the game, as anybody who follows me on Twitter noticed around 3 am last night. And since I'm too unmotivated to organize them, I'm simply going to regurgitate them to you all on here.

But first, some of the broader points I took away after the rewatch:

~Everybody is being too harsh on Todd Haley. Yes, this game completely falls on him. His preseason plan completely backfired, and the team, and the young players in particular, were unprepared to take the field on Sunday. But the dude was coach of the year last year. He took us from nowhere to the playoffs in two seasons, so give him some due. The biggest knock on him is a horrific preseason, which, in the grand scheme of things, seems kinda silly. Now, if this effort continues throughout the entirety of this season, I'll be singing a different tune. But for now, I'll back off.

~People aren't being harsh enough on Matt Cassel and Bill Muir. In the heat of the game, I failed to realize the ridiculousness of the offensive gameplan. I'm not sure if they were worried about Cassel's injured ribs, but the number of short passes was mind boggling. The offensive line actually did a decent job, but Cassel looked completely incapable of pushing the ball down field. This can't continue (And yes, I realize the hiring of Muir falls on Haley, and that is most certainly a negative, but I choose to keep a long term open mind on the head coach).

Now to the quick hitta's:

  • The Chiefs best play of the opening 4 of the game was getting destroyed on a 9 yard run
  • Miss a tackle, take a seat #YoureUpFirstSheffield (Could not believe the excessive missed tackling. This falls under the team being unprepared, and/or lack of testicular fortitude)
  • Javier did absoutely nothing on their TD. This guy has yet to make one positive play on defense in his career. Am I wrong? (I actually was wrong, Arenas put a good hit on Fitzpatrick later on in the game)
  • 2nd kickoff: Dexter hesitates, #Chiefs hold, Bills facemask. And it goes to spot of Chiefs penalty? Is that a correct call? @MikePereira (Mike still hasn't gotten back to me)
  • Bill Muir's first time calling plays in his career. You shouldn't be hiring a first timer unless he's 35 or younger. (Close to moving on from Muir after one game)
  • Chiefs who have responded to early adversity: Leonard Pope, Jamaal Charles (list grew to include Tamba Hali, and that's it really)
  • Cassel REALLY wanted to hit Terrence Copper on that slant. Cassel takes abominably bad sack. #Thesearethedaysofourlives (opening plays by our offense)
  • If I were a Raiders or a Broncos fans I would call us the Kansas City McGraws (hope this doesn't catch on)
  • Replacing Eric Berry with Jon McGraw is like replacing Scarlett Johansson with Glen Rice (Scar Jo nudes were a little disappointing. Frankly, she seems hotter with her clothes on)
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick > Jay Fiedler (Ivy Leaguers)
  • Why so many rollouts in Chiefs gameplan? Did they run any successful rollouts last year? (Really didn't understand the continuous Popey rollouts)
  • That 3rd and 7 swing to Jamaal was maybe the worst play I've ever seen. 4 Bills running at him unblocked. (starting to see my turn on Muir)
  • Gilberry pressure. Carr breakup. +1 a piece
  • I couldn't yell Fuck Shawne Merriman loud enough on Sunday #Oneofthebettermemories
  • 3rd down pass to Bowe was PI. Defender grabs his arm. Should be called way more than tiny body contact. #Ihateyoupassinterference
  • Big 3rd and 6 - McGraw 1 on 1 with Something Nelson. #ThatOneIsOnCrennel
  • Fitzpatrick absolutely pinpoints 2 passes for Bills to score 2nd touchdown (Chiefs were playing good defense at this point outside of the Caucasian Invasion at safety)
  • Richardson destroyed on a draw, minus 1
  • Nick Barnett sure would look nice in red #32millaintsobadClark
  • If Jake O'Connell would've dropped that pass, he would've become the quickest cut player in NFL history. #Grammar
  • How could Leonard Pope celebrate after clearly not catching the TD?
  • Interesting shot of Todd Haley screaming into headset after Pope's overturned TD. Can't make out what he's saying. Tried over and over. (Even tried slow motion)
  • Cassel went down like a pocket vagina in his first 2 sacks (Yes, I'm running with that nickname if this season falls apart)
  • Cassel had a terrible game in Week 1 last season. And the final week. He struggles with firsts and lasts.
  • I feel like it has been an overreaction, in large, to Week 1. Lack of response is worrisome. Perhaps more telling of mentality than talent. (This may have been my biggest takeaway from the game. A lot of the team's shortcomings were due to circumstances that you will not see every week. The most troubling part was the lack of response from 95% of the team. They were completely unable to man up.)
  • Our pass rush isn't getting it done. Interior push is nonexistent.
  • Kendrick just got punked (Coulda said this 4 or 5 times. Possibly the most disappointing player of the game)
  • Gilberry with 2 first half pressures. You still my boy @Gilberry92! (He knows, he knows)
  • Appeared to have a reverse called on the kick return there. Never got close to happening. (At least we were trying some things to mix it up)
  • So we have no idea if Jamaal actually fumbled that football? (Camera angles were completely unable to capture when the ball came out)
  • Flowers becoming a little too vulnerable to a soft push off (B-Flow either has to bulk up or play more physical because he got pushed around a little bit)
  • I see absolutely nobody even attempting to rally the Chiefs in the first hlaf. Who are the leaders on this team? (I only feel comfortable saying that Tamba Hali was trying to fire up his teammates during this debacle)
  • No reason for Cassel to rush that play before the 2 minute warning. -1 Time management.
  • Just ran our 2nd and goal play for Jake O'Connell (-1 for Muir)
  • Chiefs only touchdown was inches away from being a pick 6. And you thought 41-7 was bad...
  • Piscitelli cheering for himself way too much on his only good play
  • Big play - Bills 13 yards on quick slant to get to 3rd and 1. Chiefs not allowed to add more points before half.
  • 3rd and 1 perfect display of Chiefs awfulness. DJ missed tackle. Just out of Tamba's reach. Flowers gets manhandled.
  • Gannon almost at a loss for words after our multitude of dumpoffs to Pope (Went on quite a rant talking about how you rarely see teams call the exact same play repeatedly. Muir.)
  • Master Kim alright! (If you know, you know)
  • Tamba trying to get the team fired up. Noted. (See, I told ya)
  • Horrible coverage from Kendrick (Rinse. Repeat.)
  • Encouraged by the play I've seen from Charles and Tamba (Less worried about Charles after this game)
  • Belcher with a good play on the goal line.
  • @getnickwright Your boy Amon Gordon was a manimal on a couple goal line plays in 3rd Q (Look for more playing time out of this man)
  • I'd fine the Chiefs defensive players for giving up that TD after 2 false starts (And give it to season ticket holders)
  • Pretty sure tight end was wide open because Kendrick blew his coverage (Either he or Javier, couldn't pinpoint)
  • Thought for sure Jamaal was seriously injured on the awkward hit he took (Would've been the icing on the cake)
  • 3 Offensive PI's the Bills got away with by my count. Probably why we lost.
  • Just noticed the KC Wolf dressed up like a cheerleader. Its pretty disturbing. (He looked like Sabby Piscitelli)
  • Even tho Flowers got beat some, I feel good about how he played
  • Is there any doubt LeRon McClain hates being a Chief right now?
  • The tackling was piss poor. The rookies looked shell shocked. Both due to being unprepared. This falls on Haley.
  • Studebaker didnt really play at all on defense. Why?
  • Bills Chiefs got so out of hand that Rich Gannon was talkin Super Bowl rings with Ryan Fitzpatrick (Got to lovvvvve The Fitz)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 Thoughts on the Kansas City CHIEFS

My official Kansas City Chiefs preview comes to you in the form of a grab bag consisting of my 10 biggest thoughts, worries, qualms, predictions, hunches, juxtapositions, and if you're lucky, maybe some conjectures. But first, go ahead and play this song throughout the reading of this piece. If it ends, just restart it. Trust me.

1. This Buffalo Bills opening game scares the dickens out of me. In case you haven't read what I've been saying about the Bills this offseason (here and here), I think they are very dangerous. The Chiefs are still reeling from their shaky preseason, and the Bills might be extra motivated after last season's last second loss (not to mention, Chan Gailey probably hates Todd Haley). However, if the Chiefs were to drop their home opener, I don't like their chances to win at Detroit the next week. At all. And then you're  staring down an 0-2 record with a trip to San Diego looming. Those are season over circumstances there. So the moral of this horror story is - Don't lose to Buffalo!

2. People saying this is a make or break year for Todd Haley are dead wrong. I'm looking at you Randy Covitz! And you Sports Guy (who had this to say in his NFL preview: "Relatively Bold Prediction No. 5: By April 2012, Todd Haley will be the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets"). Look you may not like how Haley approached this preseason (nor do you probably like anything that is unconventional), but he has earned himself a down season after last year. If the Chiefs underperform this season, then he can plop down on the hot seat for the 2012 season, but unless the bottom falls out this season, and the Chiefs go something like 3-13, Todd Haley's job will be safe.

3. I'm worried about Jamaal Charles. And nobody else seems to be, which worries me even more. Look, I've said it before, and I'll say it again (just watch), Running Backs come and go all the time in the NFL. And it happens just like that. One minute you are Chris Johnson (and he'll suck in 2 years) and the next you're Edgerrin James. Or Shaun Alexander. Or Steve Slaton (perhaps the scariest comparison - nearly 1,300 yards as a rookie and barely over 500 yards in the two years since). The easiest way to metamorphose from good to bad is by getting injured. Or getting paid. One of which happened, and one of which I see in my nightmares. Luckily, we have, who I believe to be, the best long term mind in the NFL in Scott Pioli, who seems to be taking the necessary measures to keep Charles healthy for a long God Jam time.

4. Dwayne Bowe takes "The Leap." Last year he took a step and became D-Pro Bowe. I think he takes that next step this season. I'm not sure his stats will necessarily reflect the leap, but consistency is a big part of taking that next step. I expect Bowe to be considered a Top 5 NFL Wide Receiver by the end of the 2011 season. He's in a contract year, which may have played a big part in his offseason conditioning (something the Chiefs will have to take into evaluation following this season when he becomes a free agent). He has looked simply unstoppable this preseason, catching everything thrown his way, and I expect that to continue into the regular season.

5. Charlie Weis was the biggest loss of the offseason. Literally and schematically (oh wait, Shaun Smith is bigger, I think...). Since Chaz Weis announced he was leaving for oranger pastures, Matt Cassel and the passing offense haven't played well against an NFL starting defense. It's possible that the Chiefs got the services of a top flight Offensive Coordinator for only 15 games. And it's also possible that Todd Haley is to blame for that (speculative personality beef). In comes Jim Zorn (who I believe in) and Bill Muir (very skeptical), who takes over as the play caller for the Chiefs. They'll become the immediate scape goats, if my fears of Weis being more important than we're all hoping he was come true.

6. The defense is dependent on the long term health of Kelly Gregg. He appears to be fully healthy right now. But he will turn 35 this season. And his snaps were cut down considerably last season in Baltimore. If Gregg goes down, the Chiefs are forced to turn to 6th rounder Jerrell Powe as a starting Nose Tackle. POWE (right in the kisser) has looked good against 2nd and 3rd teamers in the preseason, but asking him to handle the load as a rookie is a bit of a stretch. And with the Chiefs run defense struggling enough as is, I hate to imagine what it would be like without The Oggre. That is why we all need to pray to 8 pound, 6 ounce baby Jesus that Gregg is lucky enough to last 16 games this season.

7. The defense needs a definitive leader to step up. It could be Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers, Derrick Johnson, or Tamba Hali (my order of likelihood), but I want an individual player for the team to rally around. I want a player that everybody can look to when things are going bad, and they'll get a sense of reassurance. The Ravens have Ray Lewis. The Steelers have Troy Polamalu. The Packers have Charles Woodson. The Patriots had Tedy Bruschi. One look in any of their eyes, and you knew his teammates were completely prepared to respond to adversity. My guess is that Urrrrrr Burrrrrrr (ahem, Eric Berry) steps into that role as this season progresses.

8. I'm atleast mildly intrigued by the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes. I'm not gonna root for the Chiefs to lose all of their games. Atleast, not yet. But if the Chiefs fall out of the playoff hunt early on in the season (read: worst case scenario up at #1), I would atleast entertain the idea of tanking the rest of the season in order to win the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes. I think the Chiefs are set up with young talent across the board right now, but Matt Cassel will never be more than an above average Quarterback, and if you watched the Green Bay - New Orleans season opener, you saw first hand what an elite QB can bring to the table. If the Chiefs were able to acquire an elite level QB (and I think there's a very high chance Luck becomes one), then they would become a league powerhouse for the next 10 seasons (and now I have to quit typing before I convince myself this is a good idea from the get go).

9. The Chiefs will only make the playoffs if Jared Gaither is successfully inserted into the starting offensive line. When predicting a team's fate, especially your own team, I look to the most clear cut reasoning possible. Right now the Chiefs offensive line is piss poor. And Matt Cassel doesn't handle getting pressured very well. That's the absolute easiest observation to make about this team. Barry Richardson not only seems to have regressed this offseason/preseason, he seems to have regressed hard. The only chance at improvement I see right now is Jared Gaither, who must play, and play well for the Chiefs to repeat last year's success.

10. The Kansas City Chiefs will go 9-7. Click here to see how.

His Dirkness

Predicting the Kansas City Chiefs 2011 Season

Game-by-game predictions of the Kansas City Chiefs 2011 season....

Week 1~vs Buffalo W 24-17

Week 2~@ Detroit L 31-17

Week 3~@ San Diego L 34-13

Week 4~vs Minnesota W 21-17

Week 5~@ Indianapolis W 19-13


Week 7~@Oakland W 21-13

Week 8~vs San Diego L 27-20

Week 9~vs Miami W 28-10

Week 10~vs Denver W 35-31

Week 11~@ New England L 26-14

Week 12~vs Pittsburgh L 24-21

Week 13~@ Chicago W 13-10

Week 14~@ NY Jets L 14-13

Week 15~vs Green Bay W 31-28

Week 16~vs Oakland W 20-14

Week 17~@ Denver L 30-20

Final Record: 9-7 (3rd in the AFC West)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

2011 NFL Preview

To make it easy for all my Crodies out there, I'm going to link up all of my 2011 NFL Preview articles onto this one nice, neat post. Link-um's!

2011 NFL Predictions

NFL Power Rankings - Preseason

Who will be the NFL's Surprise Team?

Top Ten NFL Team Over/Under Bets

Ranking the NFL's 32 Quarterbacks

NFL's Top 25 Players

Yahoo Pick Em League - Winner gets an official His Dirkness t-shirt!!!
Group Name: His Dirk-nicians
Group ID #65684
Password: chiefs

And for the hell of it...

2011 College Football Predictions

Happy NFoLiday,



Click here to make fun of my last year's predictions!


AFC East
New England Patriots 11-5 (3 seed)
Buffalo Bills 9-7
New York Jets 9-7
Miami Dolphins 2-14

AFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3 (1 seed)
Baltimore Ravens 11-5 (5 seed)
Cleveland Browns 9-7
Cincinnati Bengals 4-12

AFC South
Houston Texans 11-5 (4 seed)
Jacksonville Jaguars 5-11
Tennessee Titans 5-11
Indianapolis Colts 3-13

AFC West
San Diego Chargers 12-4 (2 seed)
Denver Broncos 10-6 (6 seed)
Kansas City Chiefs *-*
Oakland Raiders 6-10


NFC East
Dallas Cowboys 11-5 (3 seed)
Philadelphia Eagles 11-5 (5 seed)
Washington Redskins 7-9
New York Giants 6-10

NFC North
Green Bay Packers 13-3 (1 seed)
Detroit Lions 10-6 (6 seed)
Minnesota Vikings 9-7
Chicago Bears 6-10

NFC South
New Orleans Saints 12-4 (2 seed)
Atlanta Falcons 9-7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-9
Carolina Panthers 3-13

NFC West
St. Louis Rams 9-7 (4 seed)
Arizona Cardinals 6-10
San Francisco 49ers 6-10
Seattle Seahawks 4-12

PLAYOFFS?!?!? Playoffs.

WildCard Round:
AFC - New England over Denver, Baltimore over Houston
NFC - Dallas over Detroit, Philadelphia over St. Louis

Divisional Round:
AFC - San Diego over New England, Pittsburgh over Baltimore
NFC - New Orleans over Dallas, Philadelphia over Green Bay

Championship Round:
AFC - San Diego over Pittsburgh
NFC - New Orleans over Philadelphia

Super Bowl:
New Orleans over San Diego

Awards n' Shit

MVP: Philip Rivers, San Diego
Offensive Player of the Year: Andre Johnson, Houston
Defensive Player of the Year: Clay Matthews, Green Bay
Comeback Player of the Year: Donovan McNabb, Minnesota
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Mark Ingram, New Orleans
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Von Miller, Denver
Coach of the Year: Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh
Winner of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes: Miami Dolphins

His Dirkness

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finding the NFL's Surprise Team

Last year, this distinction fell on my beloved Kansas City Chiefs. All of the signs (easy schedule, promising changes, birth of a superstar, and good karma) were there to see before the season, only I was too afraid of putting some sort of hex on them to actually see it (yes, I believe in these kinds of things - times 100).

Every year since 1997 (my brain only goes back that far), at least one NFL team has made a 6 win improvement from the previous season. There were 3 such teams last year in Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis. The Chiefs would top that list because they also made the playoffs. So that's what we are looking for here, a team that improves by 6 or more in the win department, AND qualifies for the postseason.

----Who will be the NFL's surprise team in 2011?----

*Mathematically Eliminated (11 wins or more in 2010): New England, NY Jets, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans

*Logistically Eliminated (would need to go 16-0/15-1): Indianapolis, Kansas City, San Diego, Philadelphia, NY Giants, Green Bay, Tampa Bay

*Dirknosstically Eliminated (honky, please): Jacksonville (needs 14 wins), Oakland (14), Miami (13), St. Louis (13), Washington (12), Seattle (12), San Francisco (12), Tennessee (12), Arizona (11), Cincinnati (10), Carolina (8)

This leaves us with a nice, crisp, clean 7 teams left to fight it out for the honors. Lets shift this into rundown mode...


~Dallas Cowboys - Do they really count? While they wouldn't be a team I would consider a huge surprise, they certainly do qualify. After riddinig themselves of Wade Phillips at the midpoint of 2010, the Cowboys went 5-3 under Jason Garrett. They get Tony Romo and Dez Bryant back from injuries that cut their seasons short, and they aren't faced with 60 yard big screen expectations this season.
*Schedule - The NFC East is mediocre and they draw the NFC West, the worst divison of all time
*Change - New head coach, QB returning from injury
*Superstar - Bryant has serious potential, as does Romo as a rebirth superstar
*Karma - Bad for the organization, good for Romo
*Outlook - They seem to fit the criteria, but this feels like a 10 or 11 win team to me. Plus, picking the Cowboys as my surprise team would be pretty limpwristed.

~Detroit Lions - America's team. Or atleast America's adopted team of 2011. Or maybe just the team that had the best preseason, putting 10 win expectations on a team coming off a 6 win season. Never a good recipe, although I must admit, I do like me some Lions.
*Schedule - Draw the AFC West (good) and the NFC South (not so good) and play in a division with no gimme's (double not so good)
*Change - 2nd year head coach, QB returning from injury, dynamic rookie in Nick Fairley
*Superstar - Ndominant Suh may already be there, while Stafford has a chance to get there
*Karma - Have the Lions ever been good? I'd say they're due...
*Outlook - Was all about them until the preseason hyphoon was upgraded to a Suhnami. I like the Lions, and I think there's a good chance they reach 10 wins, but they've become a bit too trendy for me.

~Houston Texans - Another team that's hard to qualify as a "surprise" team, but I was surprised to learn they only went 6-10 last season. The Texans have become something of a punchline because of their lofty expecations that annually go unfulfilled. BUT THIS IS THEIR YEAR!
*Schedule - The frontrunners of what is now the second worst division in the NFL (because of Peyton and Garrard), but have tough draws in AFC North and NFC South
*Change - Wade Phillips as new Defensive Coordinator could make a world of difference
*Superstar - Andre Johnson is, Mario Williams should be, Matt Schaub could be, JJ Watt will be
*Karma - I'd like to say it's higher, but the heckling on the way out of the Chiefs game last year might doom them yet
*Outlook - A little too passe for my tastes. The Texans get a huge break with Peyton the Manning's injury vaulting them to the top of their division, but I think they fall short of 12.

~Minnesota Vikings - Beware of the player with the most to prove. Donovan F. has been completely written off after one bad season in a terrible situation with the Redskins. They also might have the most dangerous offensive weapon in the NFL - Visanthe Shiancoe's dong.
*Schedule - Same as Lions - rough division, but draw the AFC West
*Change - New head coach (interim from last season) and new QB
*Superstar - Major Donovan rebirth potential
*Karma - Seem to let down alot, but may have sold their soul by going with Favre
*Outlook - The Vikings chances are completely dependent on whether you believe in McNabb or not. They can beat anybody, but not everybody, with AP running the ball. 12 wins is a bit much though. Sell.


~Cleveland Browns - Nicholas Wright's team is gaining some steam as a potential sleeper for this season. Colt McCoy has looked rather spry this preseason, coming off a decent finish to his rookie year. He looks like he might be the real deal. The Browns definitely fit the mold of what I am looking for.
*Schedule - Couldn't be easier outside the division with the two worst divisions in NFC West and AFC South, but their own division has two powerhouses
*Change - First full year with Colton, new head coach, former head coach as D-Coord (Dicky Jauron)
*Superstar - Peyton Hillis already graced the cover of Madden (curse!), but this is all about McCoy
*Karma - Hard to argue that anybody deserves it more than Cleveland
*Outlook - Their schedule may not be 2010 Chiefs easy, but it's incredibly easy (includes drawing the Colts in Week 2 - Peyton doubtful). But their WR's are questionable, and so is their defense. I can see 10 wins with a backdoor playoff slide in, but that ain't enough to satisfy me.


~Buffalo Bills - Chan Chan the Man Man and his wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube offense. If he goes mad scientist this year, I'm talking Mike Leach crazy, I think the Bills could possibly revolutionize the game. Don't say I didn't warn you. I feel like Chan has reached the point where he's willing to try anything, a philosophy that originated with Thigbone (now with the Bills!) and the Chiefs.
*Schedule - Tough division with NE and NYJ, but AFC West and NFC East are manageable
*Change - Word on the street is that The Hyphen, QB-WR-PR Brad Smith, is being used every which way by Chan Chan
*Superstar - The Bumpkin, Ryan Fitzgerald might give the NFL some Ivy League flavor
*Karma - NOBODY needs good news more than the poor people in upstate, New Yahk (I can't help but think of this old commercial)
*Outlook - I came THIS close to going with the Biffalo Buffs, but I only see a max of 9 wins on their schedule. Actually, the opener against the Chiefs here at Arrowhead is their barometer. Win that, you get Oakland at home the next week, and could be 2-0 hosting the Patriots in Week 3. The Bills are my adopted team of 2011.

~Denver Broncos - It pains me to include them on this list, but here they are. Sometimes unnecessary turmoil (Tebow saga) can bring a team together, almost as if they're rallying around the media. Elvis Dumervil returns and tag teams with Von Miller, which scares the dickens out of me. And while I said McNabb had the most to prove in the NFL, Orton might be #2.
*Schedule - Their first 3 games (Oak, Cin, @Tenn) are as easy as they come, which is important for the sleeper team - beyond that it is rather pedestrian
*Change - New head coach John Fox knows how to do a lot with a little
*Superstar - The Neard himself, Kyle Orton might jump into the upper echelon of QB's - Also, Von Miller is my selection for Defensive Rookie of the Year
*Karma - The depths of hell (Tebow and hell jokes will never get old)
*Outlook - Oy. Don't make me say it. I fear the Broncos. Orton making the leap. Tebow doing little things every week that gets praised so much that Deuteronomy's ears bleed. Willis McGahee inevitably rejuvenating his career (I know because I can already feel my hatred towards him growing). Two edge rushers that will crush you on 3rd and long. Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins doing wily veteran things in the secondary. We have ourselves a winner, and I hate myself. Denver Broncos: 10-6.

Anybody who correctly picks the NFL's surprise team of 2011 in my comments will earn themselves a surprise party at my convenience following the season. All I need is a one word comment for you to be eligible.

his Dirkness

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011 NFL Power Rankings - Preseason

No introduction necessary, lets just rank em boyeeeeee...

The Paul Thomas Anderson 3-named Fav's:
1. New Orleans Saints
2. Green Bay Packers
3. New England Patriots
4. San Diego Chargers

The Annuals:
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. Philadelphia Eagles

The Pretenders:
8. New York Jets
9. Atlanta Falcons

The X(-Ray) Factor:
10. Indianapolis Colts

The Little Lebowski Urban (under)Achievers:
11. Houston Texans
12. Dallas Cowboys

The Overpicked Surprise Team:
13. Detroit Lions

The Potential Surprises:
14. Cleveland Browns
15. Minnesota Vikings
16. Buffalo Bills

The One Year Kevin Arnold Wonder Years:
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
18. Kansas City Chiefs

The Jackie O'Nassis Has Beens:
19. New York Giants
20. Chicago Bears

The Quin Snyder D-League:
21. St Louis Rams
22. Arizona Cardinals
23. San Francisco 49ers
24. Seattle Seahawks

The Potential Harry Houdini Spit On Her Back Surprise Team:
25. Denver Broncos

The Bob Loblaws:
26. Oakland Raiders
27. Tennessee Titans

The White Flaggers:
28. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Spergon Wynn Division:
29. Washington Redskins
30. Miami Dolphins
31. Carolina Panthers

The Andrew Luck Frontrunners:
32. Cincinnati Bengals

2011 World Series Predictions

With all of the hype surrounding the start of football season, I almost forgot that baseball is still going on!!!

But this one is for all of you diehards out there that wait around until the last 5 minutes of Sportscenter to catch the highlights of Thomas Jefferson's past time. I figured I had to get this in before your sport officially ended with the kickoff of Week 1 in the NFL on Thursday night. Hey at least your sport will no longer be overshadowed by a sport that's either a. locked out of all activities or b. smack dab in the middle of meaningless football games that most everybody hates.

So here goes the very first baseball article written by His Dirkness himself......

Philadelphia Phillies over Detroit Tigers in 5.

No doubt about it,
His Dirkness

Thursday, September 1, 2011

2011 College Football Predictions


Real football!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Predicting College Football is a very fun and useless activity. There's so much that is unknown about every team right now, that nobody really has any idea until the madness begins to unfold. However, there's no way I'm not getting some of my thoughts on the 2011 season on the record. Last year I picked Ohio St to beat Virginia Tech in the National Championship (after changing my pick from Auburn-Oregon at the last minute). I find few things in life as entertaining as looking back at a season's predictions after it has played out in its entirety.

2011 College Football Predictions

ACC - Florida St. over Virginia Tech
Everybody is touting Virginia Tech as their surprise National Championship contender this year, but it's all due to schedule. That never seems to pan out, although I'm deftly intrigued by their new 6'6 QB Logan Thomas (potentially this year's Cammy Cam Cam Cam). The Seminoles are the most intriguing team in the nation to me, in that I could see them exploding onto the scene and running the table (#swag), or falling flat on their expecations' face (weren't that good last year, and lost their QB). However, this will still remain the most boring of conferences, with the other 11 teams wading anonymously through the season.

Surprise Team- Duke (recruited a hell of a QB in Brian Anderson this year)

Big 12 - Texas A&M
Suck it Big 12. Remember when everybody was blaming Nebraska for the destruction of the Big 12? You won't be hearing that sentiment anymore. Texas A&M left the conference before it even found a home, and had no bones about it, placing all the blame on the infamous Longhorn Network. For the record, we should all be rooting for Texas to go 0-12 this season. It should be our common bond. Oh, the football. Oklahoma can't really deal with expectations anymore, and will drop atleast one along the way. I love Oklahoma State's team (Justin Blackmon - said in the Derek Jeter voice), but I don't think they're poised enough to handle it yet either. So out of respect for their decision (and because they didn't lose after inserting new QB Ryan Tannehill - good sleeper Heisman pick), I'm going with the Aggies. If they get past both Arkansas (neutral site) and Oklahoma St. (home), they might go undefeated (and win in Oklahoma). I like both KU and K-State to surprise some folk, while Mizzou fades back to the pack at 6-6.

Surprise Team - Texas Tech (Team Tuberville)

Big East - West Virginia
Is this conference still big enough to write about? Now what everybody is saying about Virginia Tech, I would turn around and say the same thing about West Virginia. Their conference schedule is weak, but they got two winnable non-con's to write home about (@Maryland, LSU at home). If they win both of those, they might run the table and cause some carnage. Their new head coach is Dana Holgorsen, who came up under Mike Leach's tutelage at Texas Tech, spent some time at Houston (going nuts with Case Keenum), and then directed Oklahoma State's offense last season (surpassed all expectations). This dude knows offense. And I bet everybody knows his name by the end of this season.

Surprise Team - Syracuse (just because Nick Wright might be reading)

Big Ten - Wisconsin over Nebraska
Everything about this season will be completely new, which has me emotionally turned on.

Everything Nebraska is dependent on Taylor Martinez (he'll excel as soon as people stop saying T-Magic). Were his late season struggles of 2010 due to his injured ankle, or an enlarged goiter that took over his brain? Answer A and Nebraska could do serious damage this year. Answer B and I could easily see 4 losses for this team, as they shuffle through potential QB's. My greatest hope is that Jared Crick continues the Pelini tradition at defensive tackle and mauls folks. My biggest fear is new offensive coordinator Tim Beck, who was the running backs coach of last season. However, my favorite part about the team is how they have all but returned to their days of option football, but just doing so in a more contemporary fashion. I might come out with more to say on Nebraska before Saturday, but wanted to get my most primal of thoughts out first.

Elsewhere in the conference, I love the addition of QB Russell Wilson to Wisconsin (formerly of NC State). He's a senior transfer, with 1 year of eligibility left on his resume (kinda like Sam Keller, remember him?). I think Nebraska has a real tough time in their first conference game in the Big Ten, traveling to Madison for a nationally televised night game. However, I think those goofy North of the border bastards trip up somewhere, keeping them out of the National Championship.

Surprise Team - Northwestern/Illinois (QB'd by former Rockhurst product Nathan Scheelhaase)

Pac-12 - Arizona St. over Stanford
I wrote last season that I wasn't buying into Stanford QB Andrew Luck just yet. Well, that lasted about 2 games or so. The almost unquestioned best player in the country returns, and gets the one team that beat him last year at home this time. That team of course is Oregon, who might be the most stacked team in the country, and would receive my #1 vote as of right now. However, it's very difficult to go undefeated two years in a row (just ask Boise St.). I think Stanford gets the win over Oregon, in what many people are calling the game of the year (I'd go with Oklahoma - Florida St. personally). HOWEVVVVVA, these Pac-12 geeks aren't used to the powers of a conference championship game. Anybody remember the inaugural Big 12 Championship Game? I do, but I wish I didn't. Texas upset (understatement) Nebraska, killing their shot at 3-peat (and what mighta been a 4-peat). I think history repeats itself, and an 8-4 Arizona St. team (would be USC, but they're ineligible) knocks off an undefeated Stanford team in the first Pac-12 Championship.

Surprise Team - Arizona

SEC - Alabama over South Carolina
Five straight National Championships for the SEC conference. After writing that, I will cheer for anybody outside of Austin, TX to win the whole shebang this year. So who will it be from the SEC? LSU is a bit overrated, and probably has the toughest schedule in the country. I already know what South Carolina ate for breakfast this morning (Thanks ESPN South Carolina!). Florida is gonna suck. I'm not understanding the Arkansas hype (great WR's mean nothing without a QB). Mississippi St. seems like fun, but no. Georgia will overachieve. But dammit, that means it's gotta be Alabama, who I'm already tired of (although I really hope they start that black QB, I can't take anymore Crodie Parker McElroys in my life). I think they drop a game somewhere, but sneak in because of the strength of the SEC. And I'm tired of writing about the SEC. End.

Surprise Team - Georgia (the underachieve/overachieve theorem)

I have very little to say here, except that I've grown very tired of Boise St. They started as everybody's darlings, and they had their little blue turf, and they were fun, but enough already. You get way too much credit. You change conferences, and only go to the Mountain West after TCU and BYU say they're leaving? Either join the big boys, or go away. Here's to hoping Georgia mudholes you on Saturday night.

heisman Race (have I gotten over Ndominant Suh not winning the heisman? No, lowercase h!)
1. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
3. Darron Thomas, QB, Oregon
4. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise St.
5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

BCS Games:
Rose - Wisconsin over Arizona St.
Orange - West Virginia over Florida St.
Fiesta - Stanford over Boise St.
Sugar - Oklahoma over Notre Dame

National Championship Game:
Texas A&M over Alabama